Liquid to acquire SA’s Neotel in $428mln deal

Liquid to acquire SA’s Neotel in $428mln deal

HARARE, June 28 (The Source) – Liquid Telecom, a subsidiary of telecoms group Econet Global, on Tuesday announced that it will partner South African investment group Royal Bafokeng Holdings (RBH) to acquire communications network operator Neotel for  R6,55billion ($428 million).

Neotel was launched in 2006 as the only competitor to South Africa’s fixed line operator, Telkom, before evolving into a converged communications network operator.

Liquid said in a statement the shareholders of Neotel -Tata Communications of India and minority shareholders led by Nexus Connexion (Nexus) – had agreed to the deal, with RBH committing to take a 30 percent stake in Neotel.

“We will also be increasing investments into Neotel to cater for rapidly accelerating mobile and enterprise traffic, enabling us to launch exciting new products and services,” said  Liquid chief executive Nic Rudnick.

The transaction, which now awaits regulatory approval, is expected to be completed later this year.

In March, Vodacom the South African unit of Vodafone abandoned a R7 billion proposal to buy Neotel after almost two years of regulatory battles and legal opposition to the deal by competitors.